Monday, July 9, 2012

In the News

Here I am all packed up and ready to go for my recent trip to France. This was my traveling outfit and all my luggage for my 10-day trip. How I planned my wardrobe and managed my bags will be the subject of an upcoming post, but today I wanted to talk about the news.

During the last week, what is probably the biggest scientific breakthrough of our lifetime was announced and predictably, 99.9% of the world hardly took any notice. The concept of the Higgs boson has been kicking around in the physics world for 40 or 50 years now, but was finally proven this week. Now don't ask me to explain to you what it is or what exactly it means; despite what my best friend might think, I'm neither physicist, M.D., geologist, or anything other than a biologist with an emphasis in immunology. Physicists are a whole other breed of scientist and I am certainly not talented in that area, but even to a layperson like me, this is exciting stuff. For me this is huge because as a life scientist, I was used to thinking of physics and chemistry as the study of "inanimate" things, but it's hard to classify something that can impart mass to other particles as inanimate. Even if that was the only amazing thing about it, that in itself sort of rocks my world. Do yourself a favor and find out more about this nifty little particle; it has huge implications for all of our lives, which few among us can probably even begin to fathom yet.

Also in the headlines this week, an aging, egotistical and quite possibly insane actor and his too-young starlet wife have announced that they're splitting; something which also probably could've been accurately predicted 40 or 50 years ago. This will change your life precisely not at all.


Erika said...

The Higgs bosun particle news is fascinating - and very much a challenge to review how we define our universe in so many ways. Also pretty significant and causing barely a ripple - consensus by marine scientists that the reef ecosystems on this planet are um, shall we say, not healthy. And the Australian Great Barrier Reef is gravely threatened, and not just by the Crown of Thorns starfish. Yet we have a new premier in Queensland saying that coastal development must continue. World Heritage sites in Timbuktu have also been destroyed by religious extremists.

Rather than think through the implications of these and other events, much easier to focus on trivia.

Argh. Enjoy your trip overseas, and give those lovely terriers of yours a big scruffle.

Erika said...

just read the BBC link you provided - thought Stephen Hawking's comment rather odd - "it is a pity in a way because the great advances in physics have come from experiments that gave results we didn't expect."

WTF? We should only get great advances from experiments that give expected results????

Megan said...

I totally agree. It's a sad, sad world we live in when the single most significant scientific discovery to occur in generations is overshadowed by that couple who shall remain nameless. And don't get me started on the stupid people who think that the term "god particle" means that this proves that a higher power created the Earth.

Back to fashion - great outfit for traveling. Down with Yoga pants!

Audi said...

Erika: Ugh, I know -- I can't stand Stephen Hawking. Although I think his point here is that in the usual course of things, scientists make big breakthroughs by accident or as the result of a mistake in the lab, which is perhaps more romantic than predicting something, spending billions of dollars to build a facility to test it, and then finding exactly what you were looking for. But why they even interviewed him for the story is a mystery, since he had absolutely nothing to do with the work. Sadly, I'm sure it's because he's the only physicist most people can name.

Here, watch this, it'll make you laugh:

Lisette M said...

My family and I have been taking about this all week! The HIggs boson that is =)

Megan G said...

I've been reading what I can understand since the news started coming out about it. Physics is not my strongest subject, so I admit I understand less than I wish I did.

Sadly, I could have called the TomKat split better than I can understand Higgs boson. However I think both were just a matter of time.

Jean at said...

Just landed in your universe! I started with this post and went to the linked article. I made an attempt to wrap my head around it, and can intuit how very astounding and exciting this is.

I then admired your outfit, scrolled down a little further, admired some more, and read that you met Shy Biker. They've just recently surfaced on my blog radar and left a lovely comment on my blog..

Not sure how I've missed you all this time, but MY discovery this week? YOU!

Have a lovely trip. I'll be vicariously enjoying the view.

Shybiker said...

I share your disappointment at most people's interests. They focus on meaningless celebrity lives and ignore the really important stuff.

Shybiker said...

Oh, and I despise Hawking, too. For many reasons, including the fact that he harasses women caring for him.

Erika said...

Sorry, I was too wound up with Hawking to be careful with my words! His implication that only worthwhile discoveries are those accidentally stumbled upon - meh, that's offensive and belittling.

Colbert link was broken, but I found it elsewhere and enjoyed. Thank you!

Meadow Walk said...

How can I pay attention to science when TOM IS SINGLE AGAIN!!! squeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

Come ON woman, let's get our priorities straight.


ladykatza said...

My 10 year old son wants to be an astro-physicist and thinks that Hawkings is Teh Awesome so let a little boy have his idles now and find out he's a douche in personal life later.

But in other news, I WAS TOTALLY PSYCHED that this was announced on July 4th. Talking about blowing things up. ;)

Audrey said...

I actually read about the Higgs boson discovery because it was the cover story in The Economist magazine that week. Funny what you learn from magazines subscriptions selected to use up expiring frequent flyer miles.

Nyssa said...

@ Megan: In response to only your second thing, I love my yoga pants, but I wear them to exercise and do yoga, not to the airport.